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Positive Trends in Florida Housing Market

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Regional Spotlight—Florida’s housing market reported gains in median sales prices and a reduced inventory of homes for sale in January, according to the latest housing data released by Florida REALTORS®.

“We’re seeing positive signs of a strengthening recovery in Florida’s housing market,” says 2012 Florida REALTORS® President Summer Greene. “In both the statewide single-family and condo-townhome markets, pending sales are higher and the statewide median sales price rose—up 5.3 percent to $129,000 for single-family homes and up 18.8 percent to $95,000 for condo-townhomes. Improving the availability of affordable financing to qualified buyers and investors would continue to stabilize Florida’s housing market and economy.”

The median is the midpoint; half the homes sold for more, half for less. Sales of foreclosures and other distressed properties continue to downwardly distort the median price because they generally sell at a discount relative to traditional homes, according to housing industry analysts.

The national median sales price for existing single-family homes in December 2011 was $165,100, which is 2.5 percent below the previous year, according to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). In California, the statewide median sales price for single-family existing homes in December was $285,920; in Maryland, it was $222,934.

Statewide sales of existing single-family homes totaled 12,044 in January 2012, down 5.5 percent compared to the year-ago figure, according to data from Florida Realtors Industry Data and Analysis department and vendor partner 10K Research and Marketing.

Looking at Florida’s year-to-year comparison for sales of condos/townhomes, a total of 5,963 units sold statewide last month, down 22.6 percent from those sold in January 2011. NAR reported the national median existing condo price in December 2011 was $160,000.

“Even though closed sales are down from a year ago, there are two really bright spots in Florida’s housing market,” says Florida Realtors Chief Economist Dr. John Tuccillo. “One is a significant increase in pending sales. In fact, pending sales have been up every month since May. The barrier that stands between pending sales and closings is the difficulty consumers are experiencing in obtaining financing.

“The second positive is inventories, which are now at a point close to a balanced market,” Tuccillo says. The months supply of inventory stands at 6.4 for both the single-family homes market and the condos/townhomes market.

The interest rate for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 3.92 percent in January 2012, down from the 4.76 percent average during the same month a year earlier, according to Freddie Mac. Florida Realtors’ sales figures reflect closings, which typically occur 30 to 90 days after sales contracts are written.

For more information, visit http://media.floridarealtors.org/.

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